What are the symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome?

You get burning, creeping, tugging sensations or feel as if insects are crawling inside the legs. This kind of abnormal sensation is known as Paresthesia or Dysesthesias which means unpleasant abnormal sensations. The sensations range in severity from uncomfortable to irritating to painful.

The most distinctive or unusual aspect of the condition is that symptoms occur or worsen when you are lying down, sitting, resting or relaxing for long periods of time. You may often feel an uncontrollable urge to get up and move around. Some people also have problems concentrating and have impaired memory. It can have profoundly negative effects on quality of life, often due to the sleep deprivation that results from insomnia that many sufferers find inevitably accompanying their restless legs.

Almost 10 percent of Americans have symptoms of RLS, and yet many sufferers have never heard of the condition and they often don’t discuss their sym toms with a doctor. As one sufferer of RLS said "It’s such a hard sensation to explain to someone and that makes it so awkward to go to doctor and try and describe it."

Restless Legs Syndrome can be further divided into two categories: primary RLS, and secondary RLS. Primary RLS is idiopathic, meaning that the cause is unknown. Those who suffer from it usually notice an onset of symptoms before the age of 40. The symptoms appear slowly at first. They can wax and wane and even disappear for a while. But they always return. Primary RLS is progressive, which means it generally gets worse with age. Secondary RLS, by contrast, usually has a sudden onset of symptoms, often first occurring after the age of 40. The occurrence of symptoms can be daily. While primary RLS is idiopathic, secondary RLS is symptomatic, which is to say that the underlying problem of restless legs is thought to be secondary to, or caused by, a primary disorder such as anemia, or physical condition like pregnancy. Treating the restless legs, in the case of secondary RLS, often means treating the underlying condition. Some studies show that there is a genetic component as well, indicating that the disorder may be hereditary.

Restless legs syndrome can be difficult to diagnose. There is currently no laboratory test available to pinpoint it. RLS can be clinically diagnosed only by checking your health and family history and your symptoms. Symptoms of RLS may be improved by sleep hygiene training and awareness.

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